In the misguided attempt to ban hydraulic fracturing in New York, one town took their ban vote too far. MDN reported about the bone-headed vote by the Town of Avon (Livingston County, NY) on June 28 to ban drilling activity in the town with a broadly worded zoning ordinance (see this MDN story).
A local driller with wells in Avon, Lenape Resources, warned Avon that the broad language they intended to use in their zoning ordinance would cause Lenape to shut down 16 existing conventional (vertical-only) gas wells they operate in the town along with a gas pipeline. Avon town board members didn’t listen and passed the new ordinance. Lenape president John Holko promptly shut down all of his wells in the town, ending free gas for some local residents, and low cost gas for the town itself. A really dumb move on the part of Avon.
There is a new development in this ongoing situation.
MDN reported on Monday that Chesapeake Energy had purchased the rights to leases and had transferred ownership of those leases for more than 14,000 acres from two counties in Ohio—Trumbull and Mahoning (see this MDN story). We now know that’s only half of the number of acres they transferred. We now also know who they bought the rights from and how much they paid for those rights.
Aither Chemicals remains committed to building an ethane cracker plant somewhere in the Marcellus/Utica Shale region, preferably in the Kanawha Valley region of West Virginia. An ethane cracker plant uses ethane (from wet gas) to “crack” it into other chemical compounds. Ethane is most commonly cracked to make ethylene, a raw material used in plastics.
West Virginia passed a new oil and gas drilling law in December of last year. The “Horizontal Well Act” was overwhelmingly passed by both houses of the WV legislature and signed into law by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The law contained a number of new provisions—and as happens many times, nobody was especially happy with it (see this MDN story). However, the new law, according to some, has provided predictability and uniformity across the state for the drilling industry.
Don’t look now, but the legislature and state Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working on yet another new drilling law in advance of next year’s legislative session (sessions are held every two years in WV). At a meeting held last night about the proposed new law, anti-drilling environmentalist groups sounded off about proposed new rules and the changes they want, as well as a representative from the drilling industry.
A new poll by University of Cincinnati researchers for the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati asked 834 randomly selected Ohioans their opinions about fracking. A copy of the poll results is embedded below.
Perhaps most surprising is that a combined 63% of Ohioans claim they have heard little or nothing about hydraulic fracturing. Asked about whether or not they believe fracking poses a threat to health, respondents were evenly divided.
MarkWest has just signed a deal with XTO Energy (XTO is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Exxon Mobil) to extend MarkWest’s natural gas liquids (NGLs) gathering pipeline in Butler County, PA to XTO’s processing plant. Previously MarkWest announced plans to extend the same pipeline from its Houston, PA complex to the Bluestone complex in Butler County. With this announcement, MarkWest will further extend the pipeline from Bluestone to XTO’s plant.
This deal will grant MarkWest the right to fractionate and market NGLs from XTO. Adding this new pipeline to other recently announced pipelines by MarkWest, when everything is built and running, MarkWest will have 3 billion cubic feet of gas processing capacity and 270,000 barrels per day of fractionation capacity throughout the Marcellus and Utica Shale.
EXCO Resources reported their second quarter results yesterday. Current production in the Marcellus for EXCO was 146 million cubic feet of gas per day, a 28% increase since the end of 2011. Their 2012 plan is to drill a total of 49 wells in the Marcellus, the majority of them in Lycoming County, PA where EXCO says it is “realizing our best returns in the Marcellus shale.” EXCO is currently using only one rig for Marcellus drilling.
Below are the Marcellus-related portions of yesterday’s announcement:
A column in Philadelphia Weekly takes a somewhat tongue-in-cheek look at the claims anti-drillers make about fracking. Claims like fracking causes bird deaths, and fish deaths, and even human deaths. And fracking causes earthquakes, dontcha know. The column is clearly poking fun, but we can’t quite figure out if the author is also giving credence to some of the claims, hinting they might be true.
However, the final two claims he lists are laugh-out-loud funny and we though you would enjoy a smile. Grab a cross and read on…